Sleeping beautyThere’s no doubt about it: human beings rely on sleep to refresh, recharge, and heal. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), at least 40 million Americans suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders, and 60 percent of adults report having problems sleeping at least a few nights a week.

While most of these issues go undiagnosed and untreated, there is no doubt that individuals are deeply affected by a lack of rest. More than 40 percent of adults cop to experiencing daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week, if not more. This affects job performance, relationships, and even safety while driving.

For bariatric patients, making the change to a healthier lifestyle involves assessing all activities of daily living for unhealthy patterns. This includes looking at sleep habits. In addition, maintaining the active lifestyle required of patients looking to lose substantial amounts of weight requires lots and lots of rest to allow muscles to rebuild and bodies to adjust as the weight comes off. Finally, undergoing the emotional changes that come with surgery and substantial weight loss require an alert, well-rested system.

What Disrupts Good Sleep?

It’s 9:30pm. You get in bed, pull up the sheets, and switch off the light, feeling confident that you are doing your body right by getting your zzz’s. Eight hours later, you don’t feel rested, and can barely crawl out of bed. What happened?

Researchers emphasize that it is not merely the quantity of sleep, but the quality, that matters. The following factors can disrupt your nighttime rest:

  • Stress: Laying in bed, worrying about the events of the day and the concerns of tomorrow, does very little to relax your body and mind. Make a point to release whatever is ailing you, at least for the night’s duration, and try a little mint or chamomile tea and meditation before curling into bed.

  • Alcohol and caffeine: Both of these substances can disrupt your sleep by throwing off the body’s natural rhythms. Consume moderately, if at all, and be sure to limit caffeine after 3pm to ensure some good shut-eye after hours.

  • Exercise too close to bedtime: Exercise can increase the quality of your sleep, if undertaken a few hours or more before bed. An hour before? Your body will still be running on endorphins and adrenaline when your head hits the pillow.

  • Environmental concerns: If your room is too hot or too cold (and these temperatures are relative, depending on what you prefer), you may not be able to sleep soundly. The habits of your sleep partner can also affect your nocturnal rest, so have a talk with him or her if any behaviors are costing you precious rem sleep.

  • Nighttime computer use and always being “on”: Shift work or working late into the evening on a computer not only keeps your brain abuzz, but your body, as well. Be sure to decide on a time when you shut down your laptop, put your smartphone away, and focus on relaxation.

  • Some medications: Medications, including alpha-blockers and beta-blockers, can cause insomnia. If you are taking either of these, or anything with insomnia listed as a side effect, consult with your physician about ways to get a good night’s rest.

Sleep can mean the difference between a great day and a terrible day; a day in which you choose the sofa and chips or one on which you stick to your commitment to run.

Looking to learn more about how bariatric surgery can help you remake your life? Call us or sign up for our free seminar!

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